INTRO TO PART 2: THE MERCHANT
Now if by God’s grace we have tasted of the perfection of Jesus Christ represented here in this parable as the one pearl of great price, we can with this foundation turn our minds towards the merchant. For the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchant man seeking goodly pearls…
We can rightly surmise from this parable that Jesus is here demonstrating that all men and women in our day are merchants. Some are merchants of power. Some are merchants of pleasure. Some are merchants of evil and death, sin and destruction. Others are merchants of great wealth. Still others pursue knowledge, friendships, happiness, health, etc… Some merchants have a great sense of their sin and guilt. They have a great sense of their mortality and frailty. And so they search for help. They search for salvation from their sin, freedom from their guilt, hope for their mortality and pending death.
Ponce deLeon searched for immortality from mythical waters that gave eternal life. His whole life was a drive towards this goal. And while his name is placed on street signs in Atlanta he is no longer living. Such are the merchants in the world. Some of these merchants are even in the church. They deceive themselves and or others into thinking they are merchants of the Kingdom of Heaven but they are lying to themselves and others. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and priests of Jesus’ day were like this. They were in the church for the hope that they would be viewed well, that they will feel good about themselves, that they might be able to tell others they are in church and therefore be highly favored. But in their heart they were still very much the merchants of the world whom we see in the day of judgment in Revelation 18. These are the tares the devil sows in the church in the parable of the wheat and the tares (vs. 37-43).
Jesus, however, is not so much concerned in this parable to merely show the merchants of the world. He shows us that well enough in other passages. He is concerned to show us another merchant. The merchant Jesus shows is a member in the Kingdom of Heaven. This is a merchant who is no longer looking for goodly pearls but has found one pearl of great price, sold all, and bought it. This merchant is a Christian. We must meditate on this parable now in the context of several lessons on the merchant.
Ben Stahl, Elder